|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3124 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1550 words|
The three girls were resting in their respective rooms after returning from dealing with the gang of thieves. They had been away for around two weeks, which they spent mostly camping out in the wild, so I could understand they would need some time to rest. I knew how strong the urge to take a bath grew in female adventurers, so it was common for them to stay in the bathroom for hours after coming back from a long trip.
When I heard that the couple had been captured alive as well, I wanted to let the man they had deceived see them, but they were currently in cells inside the castle, so it was impossible for him to visit them. I felt bad for him, but there was nothing I could do. On the other hand, Luvias seemed to learn something new from her first experience in actual battle, as I had noticed a slight change in her demeanor since she returned. If she continued at that pace, she would grow much stronger in a short time.
Everything was going smoothly, when one day a certain messenger appeared in front of me and everything got busier around me.
“Are you Miss Lapis?”
“Yes I am, and you are?”
“I’m sorry for the late introduction, I’m Brows. A messenger working under the direct orders of Leble the Fifth, emperor of Leble.”
It was a weekend and I was free for the day, so I was out, going to buy some stuff when that man stopped me and spoke so with a bright voice and bowed deeply to me. From his excessive politeness and demeanor, one would assume he was someone accustomed to serving others, but I could see his eyes were the same as any noble who belittled me… as well as any other commoner.
“…What kind of business does someone who serves under the emperor have with me?”
I did not have a good concept of Leble. Their heroes were the main reason for that, but I still did not feel comfortable knowing people like them had been appointed as representatives of their country. Whether he understood my feelings or not, Brows just remained with a smile plastered on his face.
“My emperor…His Imperial Majesty Leble wants to invite you to visit our country.”
“Visit, you say?”
Why would Emperor Leble want me to visit him? Normally I would expect attempts at avenging their heroes who I had humiliated. Though maybe they thought that if I went to their homeland they could do with me as they pleased, as opposed to when they were here. The other reason I could think of was an attempt at recruiting me, since I was strong enough to overpower their heroes.
“Exactly what is the reason for this invitation?”
“When His Imperial Majesty heard about your deeds, he desired to meet you, wishing to witness the courage that let you defeat our heroes with your bare hands, and to use it as reference for future decisions. We will cover all traveling and lodging costs, so you won’t have to trouble yourself either. We’ll also grant you a generous lump of money for your return as well. What do you think?”
His tone sounded like he was not expecting a refusal even if he spoke in a more crude manner. But I still had to think about it, what he said did not sound too bad, but it was hard to believe that was all there was to it. Which only gave me one option, refuse no matter what he said.
“I’m really sorry, but I’ll have to decline. A trip to Leble would take a long time, and I can’t leave my home unattended for so long, and I’m in no position to take such a break from work either.”
As soon as I said that, his bright attitude changed drastically. He also made no efforts to hide his disdain for me, looking clearly disgusted with me.
“…I swear. Every time you treat a commoner with respect they get cocky like this. Do you truly think commoners have a right to choose? The emperor is calling for you, so shut up and come!”
“…Is that how you truly feel? That’s quite uncouth for a man who claims to work directly under the emperor. You should keep your composure at all times, otherwise you’re shaming not only you, but your master as well.”
“-! Now you’ve said it!”
Brows jumped backwards while multiple people appeared from the shadows around me. They covered their faces with masks and wore long coats, probably to conceal weapons. They were just like any run-off-the-mill assassins, five of them surrounding me.
I could not feel anyone else around me. I was in a back alley not many people crossed through, though they probably also pushed people away preemptively to attack me. Still, I was actually grateful for that since it meant I would be able to go wild without worrying about my surroundings. Brows appeared to be increasingly annoyed at my unfazed expression, so his voice raised to an ear-piercing shriek.
“I’m telling you to shut up and do as you’re told! At least that’ll spare you some pain. But if you insist, we won’t have any other option than beating you unconscious and carrying you with us. I’m telling you, these people can overpower even the heroes when they’re together. They’re specially trained to fight against other people after all!”
So that was the reason why he stepped back, but looked increasingly confident in letting them fight me. I glanced at the assassins surrounding us, and I could tell they had some experience. Their movements were quick and could coordinate well. I could easily see them winning against those overconfident and idiotic heroes. But still-
“Don’t make me repeat myself. Or you couldn’t understand when I said I refuse? Also, do you truly believe people like this can win against me? You’re really underestimating me.”
“Wha-?! That’s it! Do it!”
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The assassins instantly broke into a run towards me. If I stood still, they probably would’ve stabbed me from all sides and left me in a puddle of blood. But I obviously would never do that, instead jumping high up into the air.
“You’re too predictable! We’ve already researched how you fight!”
Brows cast magic straight at me after waiting for the moment when I jumped. His chant was also quick, which made it hard for me to notice it. The fire spear was headed straight at me, but it was still not enough to fight me, as I calmly focused magic energy on my fists to fend it off.
With a soft crackling noise like something snapping, Brows’ magic was shattered with my fist. His face contorted in shock, having never expected me to nullify his magic with my bare hands. Other than magic, the only way they could hit me while I was in mid-air would be with arrows or throwing stones, but I could not see any of them holding a bow. In other words, there was only one way things could end now. They attempted to run away, but I knocked everyone out except Brows with lightning magic, then used my falling momentum to land a kick straight on Brows.
He sounded like a frog that was stepped on, before trying to crawl away. He was rather sturdy for a noble, and considering he could also use magic it was easy to guess he also had experience in battles. I walked up to him with long strides and stepped on his back with all my strength.
“Geh?! What are…you-?!”
“You think you can run away? You just attempted to assault and kidnap someone from a foreign country. Do you think I’ll let you go away?”
“H-hmph! Something like that doesn’t matter, I can easily get rid of any charges with the authority given to me by Leble! Even if you take me with you I’ll quickly be released without charges!”
“You’re free to think that if you want. Good night now.”
I cast lightning magic again, this time to knock him out as well. Then I went to get some guards, who tied them up, gagged their mouths and put blindfolds on them before taking them away. They would need to be carried through the main street after that, so they quickly became the center of attention. As I watched them being hauled away, I finally recalled why I was there.
“I’m curious what will happen to them… But oh well, I probably won’t see them again so I better forget about this. I really should hurry and get everything ready for dinner now.”
I knew that once I was somewhat well known, things like this would happen eventually, so I was ready for them. Though I was still grateful that they attempted to take me by force. If someone with more authority ordered me to do something, it would be harder to refuse. I pushed Brows out of my mind and hurried to return home. Today I was in charge of preparing dinner, so I could assume they were getting hungry waiting for me.